[By Sarah J. Ellis]
You’ve seen that second line on the urine self-test pregnancy kit and your family doctor has confirmed it with a blood test. Besides receiving words of congratulations, from what you eat, drink, wear and put on your skin, suddenly everyone seemed to have an opinion about what you should or shouldn’t do during pregnancy. Pregnancy is an exciting time for women, but it often comes with many challenges, with skincare being an outstanding concern to many. Misinformation about pregnancy skincare creates frustration and confusion for pregnant women during a time they should be enjoying to the fullest. Further misled by the need to navigate into unchartered waters to deal with unfamiliar skin changes brought about by hormonal fluctuations which they’ve never had, it is little wonder that pregnant mommies are doing too much or too little. With help from SW1 Clinic‘s medical director Dr. Low Chai Ling, mother of two and author of “In Full Bloom”, a comprehensive page to page guide for looking fabulous during and after pregnancy, here’s a proposed pregnancy safe skincare regime that’s suited for most, with what you should and shouldn’t be using to work that “pregnancy glow”.
Sun protection is universal
Throughout pregnancy it’s important to avoid overheating and dehydration. Pregnant or not, it’s crucial to protect your skin from the harmful UV rays, but that doesn’t mean you need to hibernate indoors throughout the whole nine months.Try to enjoy outdoor activities and exercise in the morning and evening as much as possible when it’s not that hot. While you’re heading outdoors, sun or no sun, keep yourself well hydrated and form a tight Siamese twin bond with a broad spectrum sunscreen.
Sunscreen actives are not known to be a risk during pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists hasn’t found any of the alleged fears about sunscreen ingredients substantiated by medical or animal research, and its continual use is strongly recommended by dermatologists especially when pregnancy makes your skin more susceptible to hives, heat rash and worsening of undesirable skin pigmentation such as melasma. If you find your skin is more sensitive during pregnancy, consider using physical blockers with only the mineral actives of titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide, as both are non-irritating.
The SW1 UMBRELLA UV Protection & Light Diffusing Cream is a powerful 100% chemical and fragrance-free physical blocker that offers top notched “rays-ban” sun protection, providing mega dose of SPF 70 with potent UV-shielding ingredients including Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide, suspended in a blend of 3 antioxidant teas with an invisible shine-absorbing micro mesh of UV reflectors. A super lightweight and non-comedogenic formula that doesn’t clog pores, this soleil protecteur extraordinaire forms a breathable shield to safeguard you from both burn-causing UVB beams and wrinkle-inducing UVA rays. Added potent tea and botanical extracts provide extra perks of smoothening and brightening skins, boosting the desirable pregnancy glow along with excellent sun protection against photo-aging.
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Keep breakouts at bay
Many women experience acne during pregnancy although it might not be a skin woe that bothers them before there’s a bun in the oven. This is most common during the first and second trimesters, as an increased in circulating androgens can lead to hyperctivity of oil glands in the skin with increased sebum production; leading to bacterial colonization, inflammation, clogged pores and breakouts. AHAs and BHAs are a group of naturally occurring fruit acids that has found its way into the dermatologist’s office for treating a whole host of skin issues, and some are exceptional in keeping breakouts at bay. Glycolic and Lactic acid are superior AHA exfoliants that are OK to use while pregnant, reducing oiliness and unclogging pores to restore skin’s pH to an optimum level. It’s recommended to lay off products containing Retinoids such as Differin, Retin-A and Tazorac, as although very little of this vitamin A derivative gets absorbed into your skin, studies have suggested a possible link to birth defects.
SW1 FRUIT ENZYME Refining & Renewing Serum formulated with the gentlest forms of naturally occurring AHAs extracted from whole fruits is a genius non-oily serum that does wonders for clogged, misbehaving skins during pregnancy. Natural enzymes do double duty in helping to heal and reduce acne blemishes, while preventing future breakouts at the same time with daily use.
Another great skincare ingredient that has been flying under the radar despite research proving them more than worthy of your attention is Azelaic acid, and it is safe for use during pregnancy. Chemically Azelaic acid is neither a AHA or BHA but a dicarboxylic acid, and has been shown to significantly diminish the appearance of skin blemishes, help fade post-acne marks and tackle uneven skin discolorations for a more even skin tone with textural gains. SW1 SKIN RESCUE Clarifying & Balancing Cream is a potent yet gentle formulation containing skin clarifying Azelaic acid and acne-busting Benzoic acid, a serious overnight acne attacker with oil-absorbing, anti-inflammatory and pigment-preventing properties. Assuming multiple roles of fighting acne, lightening post inflammatory marks and reducing skin redness all at one go, it is certainly a skincare must-have to tame skins affected by the hormonal havoc brought about by pregnancy.
Lightening the mask of pregnancy
Approximately 90% of pregnant women will experience some form hyperpigmentation during their pregnancy.Women who are dark haired with darker skin types are more likely to develop some degree of skin darkening, and it is also more likely to be more pronounced in these women as well. Increased skin pigmentation may affect skin spots such as scars and freckles, nipples and areolae, external genitalia, or areas of increased friction like the axillae and groin. This may also occur in specific areas of the body such as the midline of the tummy as “linea nigra” or on the face as “melasma”, often refer to as the ‘mask of pregnancy’.
Hydroquinone, a commonly prescribed pharmaceutical grade skin bleaching agent, has not been tested on animals or humans regarding its use during pregnancy, so it’s best to avoid when preggers or while breastfeeding. Instead, look to brightening products that contain alternative skin lightening agents such as niacinamide and various forms of vitamin C. SW1 WHITE PLASMA Whitening & Illuminating Serum is a high-tech facial serum that’s oil-free and hydroquinone-free, helping pesky discoloration make a quick disappearing act with pregnancy safe tranexamic acid and ascorbic acid.This ultra-concentrated, quick-absorbing formula targets not only melasma but age spots and sun spots too, tackling pigment formation leading to skin discoloration and uneven skin tone at its roots with tyrosinase inhibitors and vitamin C. Helping to retain your newfound radiance further with added skin illumination factors, you can now have the confidence to face the world, perils of the anticipating motherhood and all, with gusto.
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Crank up the moisture
Whether rollercoaster hormones have made your skin dry, oily or ultra-sensitive, it’s important to crank up skin moisture to optimal levels with a pregnancy-safe face moisturizer. Generally speaking, Anti-aging products with vitamin C, niacinamide, hyaluronic acid ans peptides are considered safe for use during pregnancy, with no research showing adverse findings from topical use. However, if you’re uncertain about starting a new anti-aging product or a combination of ingredients, do check with your physician and follow their professional advice.
The SW1 LUMINIZING II Replenishing & Moisturizing Cream is going to be your pregnancy skincare hero, the perfect thirst quencher for dehydrated to sensitive to oil-prone skins. Developed with a dual approach to treating skin, this non-comedogenic formula deeply hydrates while boosting dermal immune system to increase skin health and overall resilience with key ingredients that include ceramides, wheat germ oil, safflower oil and squalane. Its innovative clog-free, fast-penetrating formulation ensures that skin is optimally moisturized from within, giving you that mom-to-be glow with a complexion that’s luminous and dewy fresh both day and night.
Add on SW1 EMERALD OIL Vitamin-enriched Anti-aging Eye Treatment for total facial moisturization, formulated with certified organic coconut, chamomile and jojoba oil that work in tandem to awaken and brighten the delicate under-eye area. This preservative-free formula is designed to gently hydrate without the feeling of grease nor ‘heaviness’ of eye creams, softening and smoothening undereyes’ fine lines, smiley crinkles and Crow’s feet, ensuring “total peepers perfection” that make heads turn for all the right reasons, protruding belly or not!
Flawless finish with BB cream
The next 40 weeks can certainly wreak havoc on your skin and any mom-to-be dealing with hormone-induced acne or darkening of skin pigmentation will beg to have some form of pregnancy safe cover-up. Camouflaging distraught skin can be particularly tricky, especially when it’s sensitive. Wave goodbye to any of your usual makeup products containing parabens, phthalates and fragrances, and say hello to BB and CC creams. Not only are these formulas lighter on the skin, but according to Environmental Working Group research, they have an average of 40 ingredients compared with an average of 70 when foundation, concealer and moisturizing sunscreen are used separately.
The CHAI BB CRÈME Anti-Acne is an absolute beauty gem that’s pregnancy safe, specially created for acne prone skin or those plagued with the occasional zit attack. Combining the duo power of Salicylic and Azelaic acid, it helps fight pimples and comedones while lightening marks left behind by inflamed papules.With an oil free formulation that controls shine and sebum production, it comes in a translucent nude base that gives your skin a much needed smooth matte finish that lasts throughout the day. To top it all, there’s a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30, to treat, cover and protect all in one go!
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Join Dr. Low Chai Ling and other esteemed guest speakers @ MUMMY TO YUMMY post-pregnancy fixes workshop to get the low down on pregnancy weight, stretch marks, melasma and more, with a panel of medical experts from plastic surgeons to O&G specialists giving valuable insight on the latest innovations and treatments that can help you not only restore your beauty but take it to the next level after having a baby or two.
Limited places still available, BOOK NOW to avoid disappointment, ladies!